The frozen, blasted landscape of Scandinavia has always held a special appeal for me when it comes to music. From the game-changing hardcore of Refused to the gorgeously layered and heartfelt emo of Last Days of April or the melodic dark indie of Starmarket, there’s a pedigree for invention that far outstrips any country of comparative size.
Now you can add the cathartic noise of Stockholm’s post-hardcore/screamo outfit Disembarked to the list of illustrious Scandinavian acts. Noisy, but wonderfully textured and with big swathes of head-nodding melody running throughout, ‘Nothing’s Wrong Here’ is a challenging but accessible listen that bears all the hallmarks of a future Scandinavian classic.
Opener ‘Body of a Ghost, Arms of a Man’ gets proceedings off to the best possible start. The loud/quiet dynamic may be an alternative rock staple but rarely has it been used with such ferocity. It’s both beguilingly beautiful and powerfully intense. Vocalist Pontus Carlsson sounds permanently on the edge of a breakdown, throwing out a sound that is wild and violent. It’s unruly and occasionally unfocussed, but is also undeniably exciting.
‘Nothing’s Wrong Here’ is full of similarly brutal cuts, with many adhering closely to the same blueprint. Throughout, though, the quality remains phenomenally high, even if the unyielding nature does become trying. A drop in intensity or a change in pace might have broken things up slightly, but considering Disembarked charge through the 12 songs on offer like a runaway train, it’s a small concession. Even ‘Postponed’, which provides the album’s most restrained moment, is still packed with the pain of a thousand cuts. At three-and-a-half minutes long it’s also something of an epic for a band that tends to be best when they’re at their shortest and sharpest.
They do occasionally throw in a curveball. ‘Causera’ is a brief instrumental interlude which serves as a great introduction to the outstanding ‘Friends, Are You Still There?’, while the tense ‘Hindsight’ strips things back for the first third before reverting to fierce type.
Dog Knights are probably unearthing more gems from around the globe than any other UK-based label at the moment and Disembarked certainly belong on that list. More of the same for 2015, please!
‘Nothing’s Wrong Here’ by Disembarked is out now on Dog Knights Productions.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)